Apr. 4th, 2011

I realise that this is perhaps asking for trouble, but I've got to say it: I can no longer see any reason to be recommending an iPhone over the better Android handsets, not even to "unsophisticated" users.

Comparing like with like, Android handsets no longer have any significant functionality gap. Frankly, they do more. As of 2.2 I think it's fair to say that Android is at the very least feature-comparable with iOS. The higher-end handsets (remember, "comparing like with like") are every bit as well-designed and -built as the iPhone.

It seems that every DST change there are reports like this. The claim is that even with the current iOS release, some users are still experiencing wacky alarm behaviour. Really not acceptable, and it implies a rather unusual lack of attention to detail.

Throw in the downright nasty behaviour Apple is engaging in with respect to e-books and I'm simply not seeing any reason why the iPhone is a better choice absent an established investment in the platform.
My last post was all about what I don't recommend to random people these days: the iPhone.

So, how about something more specific than "Android"?

Of the devices currently available, the two I'd recommend are the HTC Desire and the Samsung Galaxy S. Both HTC and Samsung have fairly good track records when it comes to OS updates, and both of these devices are very well-regarded.

I wouldn't recommend the HTC Desire HD simply because it's known to have serious battery-life problems. Likewise the Sony-Ericsson XPERIA X10 variants.

I don't know enough about the LG devices to make a recommendation. Personally, I'd steer clear of the cheapest knock-offs, like the ZTE and Huwei stuff some telcos are rebranding. But if what you're after is super-cheap (and thus you weren't even considering an iPhone in the first place) then they may not be an entirely bad deal. Just don't expect to much more than you'd expect from a cheap feature phone.

The Desire is about a year old now, but still plugging along very nicely -- it's what I'm using, and while the shiny of some of the latest devices is calling to me, I reckon I'll be able to resist the siren song for another year.

If you want or need a physical keyboard, the two to look at are the Motorola Milestone and HTC Desire Z (T-Mobile G2 in the US), though those are probably the only options anyway. Not sure if any Australian telcos are offering these on contract though.

The Milestone is getting a little long in the tooth. I don't know anyone with a Milestone 2, so I'm cautious about recommending it. Motorola haven't been the best with updates, but far from the worst either.

It's harder to give a sensible recommendation on the 2011 batch of devices, because most of them haven't been released yet and those which have haven't been around long enough. But the ones to keep an eye on are the Samsung Galaxy S II and the Sony-Ericsson XPERIA Arc. For a device with a keyboard, the Sony-Ericsson XPERIA Pro is looking pretty good on paper.

Mobile gamers will probably want to check out the Sony-Ericsson XPERIA Play.

The main disadvantage of the first 2011 batch of XPERIA phones is that they're all single-core. This probably won't matter much for a while yet, but at some point the odds are that someone will come up with something really awesome which needs dual-core. My best guess is that this won't become important for at least another year, probably two, so the single-core devices are likely safe enough for this upgrade cycle.

For the particularly technically-inclined user, the newest S-E devices are looking really interesting as S-E have announced they'll be providing a completely legitimate bootloader unlock mechanism. You'll probably have to buy an unbranded device rather than from a telco on contract, but if you were wanting to hack the phone then you'd probably be doing that anyway.

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